Setting personal goals to realize our full potential and continually evaluating progress toward those goals is a lifelong process. Our choices determine our decisions to identify areas for personal improvement and then work on ourselves to get closer to our goals.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs leading to self-actualization suggests that each individual is likely to be at a particular stage of maturity regarding their needs. He indicated that the needs necessary for survival include basic needs such as physiological needs, security, love, belonging, esteem and needs for growth leading to self-actualization. However, these do not necessarily have to progress linearly from a lower level to a higher level in the hierarchy. In fact, the desire for growth could be strongly felt even as the lower level of needs is satisfied. Although the extent of a specific need may vary from person to person, personal growth, the search for meaning in life and the quest for self-actualization are inherent in each individual. Investing in personal development to realize one’s true potential is a lifelong process that requires introspection, planning, and constant work to execute plans.
Realizing one’s career potential requires continuous investment in building a deeper understanding of one’s fields, including the characteristics and challenges of the industry and the nature of one’s work. Seeing progress requires understanding the business context and how that context changes over time due to process changes, technologies, industry-specific changes, competitive, economic and geopolitical reasons.
The massive level of change that occurs through these factors requires staying informed at all times to be relevant. Additionally, it takes constant investment of time and effort to develop and mature behavioral skills, including listening, resilience to change, contextual thinking, clear communication, and resourcefulness. Investing in learning and education and networking with people in our area of interest is imperative for personal development. Having a diverse view of perspectives and remaining open-minded without judgment greatly accelerates development.
For personal development, here are five economic means accessible to all:
As a quote goes, “Once you learn to read, you’ll be free forever.” Investing time daily in reading the topics one has identified for improvement is a powerful weapon to sharpen our minds and accelerate the learning process. Reading not only gives us important knowledge, but also provides a variety of perspectives from the rich experiences of others – many of which could be applied in our own lives.
Develop a growth mindset
Most of us live in fear of failure or even of trying. We generally avoid challenges. We fear stepping out of our comfort zone to strangers. We thus deny ourselves new experiences, which end up hindering personal development. Working on ourselves to see challenges as opportunities for learning and growth greatly supports our growth.
Finding daily time for reflection at the end of each day greatly improves awareness of one’s progress towards goals. In turn, this helps to keep an ongoing view of his goals coupled with an honest assessment of his strengths to improve and check what makes him happy. Journaling is a great way to reflect as it helps to stay focused rather than giving in to the constant chatter and noise in your mind. Being honest with yourself is paramount in such reflection.
Mentoring could be a great way to gain knowledge and confidence on how to handle situations, help with problem solving, and come out wiser. A mentor with a wealth of experience who has faced many of life’s challenges has been successful and is willing to share their knowledge would be a great way to learn from others’ experiences and grow stronger. Eventually, it helps to become self-sufficient and independent over time.
Choices and actions
As Darren Hardy says, “You make your choices, then the choices make you”. “Small smart choices + consistency + time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE.” Always be mindful and conscious of the choices one makes; his actions and behavior are crucial for personal development. The choices of how we use our waking hours, where we invest our time, how much we focus on aspects of health and well-being, and how many hours we invest in learning are what will end relate in the form of good actions towards personal development. Practice and consistency are key to getting results.
None of us are born with a fixed set of skills and abilities. These were built by hard work and perseverance over time for successful people. Learning about ourselves and improving ourselves every day to realize our true potential requires constant and severe practice. But above all, it requires a strong intention on his part.
(The author is Founder, Director – Avaali Solutions